Your Back-to-School Dental Checklist

In between all the back-to-school shopping and last-minute vacations, don’t forget to make time for your dental checkup!  Not only will this help your kids start a new school year on the right foot.  But also, it’ll provide a much-needed refresher on basic oral hygiene.  As your local family dentist, we understand how hectic this time of year can be! Which is why we put together this simple checklist to help you stay on top of things. 

1. Schedule Appointments Early

Seriously, the sooner, the better!  At Ellicott Mills Dental, our schedule is rapidly filling up.  If you want to secure a spot before the beginning of the school year (especially one that works with your family’s calendar), then don’t put off scheduling your back-to-school checkups.  In Howard County, this appointment is just as important as your children’s annual physicals and/or booster shots.

Apart from allowing us to complete the necessary paperwork, this checkup is key to diagnosing tooth decay early on.  Did you know that this problem affects children in the U.S. more than any other infectious disease?  The Center for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC) has been monitoring cavities and poor oral hygiene for years!  Citing a link between dental pain/disease and difficultly eating, speaking, playing sports, and effectively learning.  As well as missing multiple days of school throughout the year.  Fortunately, a back-to-school checkup can identify warning signs of tooth decay and other problems.  Even as we suggest ways to improve your family’s oral hygiene to combat these common problems.

2. Stock Up on Dental Supplies

If they’re not already on your shopping list, be sure to add toothbrushes, fluoride toothpaste, and floss. We recommend buying multiple toothbrushes (or toothbrush heads if you’ve already gone electric) at once.  Having new utensils on-hand could serve as an easy reminder for your family to change toothbrushes regularly.  In most cases, you should only use the same toothbrush for up to 3 months.  But if you’re using a special device, we might suggest a different schedule.  Just ask during your back-to-school checkup!

When it comes to oral hygiene, toothbrushes are only one piece.  Teach your children that their daily routine should also include tools like an effective toothpaste, floss, and mouthwash.  For younger children, we often recommend options that include fluoride to fight early onset tooth decay.  But just how much will vary based on a number of factors, including their age. Regardless, these supplies are only effective if your children actually use them!  So, begin the habit of incorporating these tools now—before the hectic beginning of the school year.

3. Start Healthy Eating Habits Now  

What your family eats will affect their overall dental health.  Even with the best preventative care and oral hygiene, a poor diet can cause tooth decay.  As you’re back-to-school meal prepping, be sure to stock up on healthy snacks, such as raw vegetables, fruits, yogurt, milk, cheese, etc.  Try to avoid processed food and/or sugary drinks (especially sodas).  Even items like chips or breads that don’t have high levels of sugar can become sugary as they’re broken down by our bodies.  For more information on what foods can actively help or hurt your family’s teeth, check out this fun infographic.

Don’t forget to involve your children in this process!  While keeping healthy snacks on-hand can control their intake at home, what happens when they’re at school?  Or at a friend’s house?  By teaching them to make healthy decisions on their own—and enjoy the process—you’re setting them up for lifelong success.  

We hope to see you soon for your back-to-school checkup!  If you have any individual questions about this checklist or oral hygiene in general, we’ll be happy to address them at Ellicott Mills Dental. Contact us today to schedule your next appointment.  

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